Thursday, October 2, 2014

Rolling Stone magazine's "100 Best Singles of 1984: Pop's Greatest Year" (Part 1 of 3)

I don't mind when Rolling Stone magazine comes out with a new list, in fact I rather enjoy it.  So here we go again with a list they're calling the "100 Best Singles of 1984: Pop's Greatest Year."  The fact they call 1984 "pop's greatest year" is laughable because we all know that honor goes to 1982.  Still, they've turned out a pretty good list and one of the few Rolling Stones lists that doesn't have Bob Dylan in the top spot.  "A" for effort, "B" for the list itself.

The byline lists thirteen contributors and I'd be surprised if more than half of those were alive in 1984.  I can't imagine the inherent difficulties of putting together such a list such as a cooperative exercise, but they kept the guidelines simple: "To be considered, the song had to be released in 1984 or have significant chart impact in 1984, and charted somewhere on the Billboard Hot 100."  Sure, I don't agree with quite a few of the staff's picks, but isn't that the point?

Below is the bottom half of that list, complete with the song's peak on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and it's year-end rank according to Joel Whitburn's Pop Annual.  If a song peaked in a year other than 1984, that is notated by the year in superscript next to the year-end rank (ex. 9883 means that song peaked on the Hot 100 in 1983). A pointless exercise for sure, but I was curious and thought I'd share the results with you.  To add a personal touch, I've picked a favorite from each group of ten below and marked that title with an asterisk.

You can find the entire annotated list, complete with videos, here:

RSTitleArtistHot 100 Year
100Sunglasses at NightCorey Hart767
99The WarriorScandal feat. Patty Smyth762
98You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)Dead or Alive1111185
97Lights Out*Peter Wolf1294
96Mother's TalkTears for Fears2717986
95People are PeopleDepeche Mode1312085
94RunawayBon Jovi39214
93State of ShockThe Jacksons feat. Mick Jagger331
92Girls with GunsTommy Shaw33188
91White HorseLaid Back26163

RSTitleArtistHot 100 Year
90Cover MeBruce Springsteen768
89Oh Sherrie*Steve Perry336
88Stuck on YouLionel Richie334
87Jump (for My Love)The Pointer Sisters 332
86Wrapped Around Your FingerThe Police878
85Run to YouBryan Adams67785
84So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)R.E.M.85409
83Swept Away Diana Ross19130
82Nobody Told MeJohn Lennon553
81Somebody Else's GuyJocelyn Brown75350

RSTitleArtistHot 100 Year
80Boys Do Fall in LoveRobin Gibb37206
79That's AllGenesis 658
78You Might ThinkThe Cars761
77Out of Touch*Hall & Oates113
76TendernessGeneral Public2717785
75Uptown GirlBilly Joel32583
74TaxiJ. Blackfoot90430
73Bringin' on the HeartbreakDef Leppard61291
72We're Not Gonna Take ItTwisted Sister21140
71Sidewalk TalkJellybean1814086

RSTitleArtistHot 100 Year
70No Parking (on the Dance Floor)Midnight Star81385
69GhostbustersRay Parker, Jr.18
68Hot for TeacherVan Halen56275
67Like a VirginMadonna11
66I Guess That's Why They Call it the BluesElton John441
65Self ControlLaura Branigan438
64Break My StrideMatthew Wilder543
63LegsZZ Top871
61Owner of a Lonely Heart*Yes112

RSTitleArtistHot 100 Year
60Pink HousesJohn Cougar Mellencamp877
59Love is a BattlefieldPat Benatar54883
58CentipedeRebbie Jackson24153
57Rock You Like a HurricaneScorpions25158
56Smalltown BoyBronski Beat4824685
55Rebel Yell*Billy Idol46236
54Say, Say, SayPaul McCartney & Michael Jackson1483
53Eat It"Weird Al" Yankovic1296
52I Didn't Mean to Turn You OnCherrelle79372
51I Can Dream About YouDan Hartman657


  1. 1984 was a heckuva year. High school graduation, college freshman orientation, the fact that those two happened just a few days apart. The music was good, maybe great - my favorite musical decade will always be 1974-1983 and 1982 is unquestionably the year to rule them all, in a purely musical sense of course.

    My favorites in each batch of ten run slightly more ROCK! than yours... kinda:
    94 Runaway-Bon Jovi
    88 Stuck on You-Lionel Richie
    73 Bringin' on the Heartbreak-Def Leppard
    68 Hot for Teacher-Van Halen
    55 Rebel Yell-Billy Idol

    I'll add a caveat that Def Leppard's "Bringin' On The Heartbreak" must include "Swith 625" coda or it is off the list with runner-up "Tenderness" taking it's place.

    Even though I know that Prince dominates fully half the Top 10 songs on the list, I can't wait to see the soft rock kid™'s take on the whole shebang across two more posts. I'll be checking in from Vegas.

  2. 1984 is part of a solid three year block of key music for me. It starts in 1982, carries through 1983 and rounds up here. Tons of memorable stuff here. Definitely the peak of my music listening to date.